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HISTORY OPTIONAL AND GS Strategy: Vivek Chauhan Rank – 300, CSE – 2015

HISTORY OPTIONAL AND GS Strategy: Vivek Chauhan Rank – 300, CSE – 2015

Read Vivek’s Inspirational Journey HERE 


Hello friends, I am short of words to thank you all for your overwhelming response, love, support and praise that you have shown me in response to my previous article. Thank you so much.

Many of you asked me about my study strategy i.e. how I prepared for civil services exam. But let me tell you that you must AIM for rank 1 or a top rank,  and for that you must follow strategy of rank 1 or other toppers.  Because when you aim low you achieve low. I would request you all to aim high. At least you will get something.

Please follow blog of toppers such as  Gaurav Aggarwal, Tina Dabi, Rachit raj and Ghanshyam thori, and websites like  Mrunal and  INSIGHTSONINDIA for motivation and preparation strategy.

Here I am writing for those people like me with no formal education and family commitments who find it difficult to cross first hurdle and are struggling as I did once.

So here we go.

For Prelims

History Old Ancient NCERT and  For Modern india Spectrum (go through with it and if u have time read once Medieval old NCERT.

Polity:- The Laxmikant (i didn’t see any of the question from polity came from outside of it)

Economics:- 12th class Macro economics NCERT, Economic Survey, and if can read please read SRIRAM IAS ECONOMIC booklet (it’s bulky but worth reading)

Geography:- Go for NCERT only from class 6th to 12th (Focus on 10th and 11th class OLD NCERT)

Environment :- lots of material is available but I read IGNOU booklet for environment (two booklets). I find each and every question in it from environment ( You may go for Shankar IAS booklet but I found it more factual)

Culture:- 11th class Ncert Art and Culture, Balyan sir or Nitin Singhania notes

Current Affairs:- Two word solution INSIGHTONINDIA + NEWSPAPER   you can also look for Vision IAS monthly booklet, it’s very good)

Science & Technology:- Sorry friends I didn’t ever specifically study it and only went through THE HINDU SC/TECH section and  Vision booklet for sc & tech

All these books list given above was followed by me and by grace of god never took coaching for GS and almost got 105+ marks in UPSC PRE in every  attempt (I failed many times because my CSAT was weak)


My best wishes to all the aspirants for CSE – 2016 and I would love to help and will try to answer your queries (as soon as possible).


General Studies 1:

For History portion again GO for NCERT and SPECTRUM MODERN INDIA ( focus on Ancient part, try tp change the way you read and see things and see it from the UPSC point of view.  Read and analyse from the point of view of  question asked by the UPSC.  Please read previous year questions and question yourself how you could have answered them in exam. This way you can find a way to write good answer from UPSC point of view)

For Society part, to be frankly I didn’t read much and wrote from my life’s experience and trust me it’s worth writing this way.

For Geography part read NCERT and you may read G C Leong book ( again I request you to kindly look previous year questions and try to answer them often)

General Studies 2 and 3:  

To be frank, I never studied these papers individually  and studied VISION IAS MONTHLY BOOKLET and they were very helpful (indeed), Laxmikant for polity, SRIRAM IAS ECONOMY BOOKLET for economy, supplementary material of vision ias can be handy for GS paper 2 & 3, ARC reports can be read (focus on summary),

Following regularly Insight on India Secure questions and newspaper is the key. Read thoroughly newspaper and try to make notes (micro notes not bulky)

For GS 2 and 3 I suggest you to  kindly listen to ALL INDIA RADIO news  every evening from 9 pm to 10 pm( News and special program of all India radio), and please watch special editions of Rajya Sabha TV( different debate of Rajya Sabha TV) trust me friends, u will get at least 70% of ur GS paper from these audio and video(from AIR and RTV) ( majority of part depends upon how u write and present and express yourself)

General Studies – 4:

I read Lexicon and A K Mishra sir notes on Ethics and found it enough for Ethics. You may opt for other books as you may like.  I think for GS 4 questions, writing good answer with good number of  contemporary examples and tagging them with famous personalities is the key to score more marks in both theory questions and case study.

GS 4 is how you can express yourself ethically in that particular situation. Irrespective of how unethical you are,  write what should be right for poorest of poor in that situation. ( GS4 me aap Gabdhi jibke Jantar me jo likha hai usko apply karo). In this paper focus more on situations (answer likhte time ush situation ko socho aur poor ke liye wo kaise helpful hogi wo likho) & try to give relevant examples.

This concludes GS (Mains) strategy.

My GS Marks: (I didn’t take coaching for GS mains)

CSE 2014 GS 360 marks

CSE 2015 GS 359 marks



My History marks(UPSC)

CSE 2014 263 marks

CSE 2015 239 marks

UPPCS marks

UPPCS 2013          281/400

UPPCS 2014         286/400


Before you follow my strategy for History please let me reveal some information:

I have done B A , M A( History),Cleared  UGC NET two times and butI didn’t learn much from these courses as all education was through correspondence mode (it’s hard to learn without formal education, that too with commitments)

So T decided to take coaching for History from Balyan sir @Delhi ( I would prefer Balyan sir for History, he is a very good teacher but you should go there as a student of school and not as college)

For History I followed thoroughly Balyan sir Notes. I literally mugged up notes and poured them as per need of question in exam. I would suggest aspirants that write only according to the demand of question with proper structure of question – 10 to 15% introduction, 70 to 80% Body part and again 10 to 15 % Conclusion. Intro and conclusion are most important part of answer. Give importance to them, as well as write precise answers only.

Book list for History:-

1.Balyan Sir notes for History

2.Publication Division books for History (these are small tiny books and can be read in short span of time)

3.Irfan Habib book for Medieval India

  1. India after independence ( selected chapters only or you can go for some summary notes given by Balyan sir)
  2. I would prefer that you go and check two websites , iasourdream and selfstudyhistory ( you can get good History material and moreover Map Material on these sites)
  3. Read NCERT again and again and Supplement these from Balyan Sir’s notes.
  4. For maps I followed selfstudyhistory website, NATMO map, Ensemble map and spectrum map (for map, do prepare your own map with sorting of NEOLITHIC,  MESOLITHIC , HARRAPAN,  VEDIC,  MAHAJANPADA etc. Prepare individual map for each era with their capital).

I am sorry to say that I didn’t ever read bulky History books, thereby my strategy may differ from others. So I would suggest you to kindly make your own strategy depending upon how much you need to read and how much you already know about History.  So it’s my humble request to all of you that please do not blindly follow me, make your own path and follow it. Put different tiles from experiences of different toppers on your path.


My selection this year is basically the result of answer writing practice. So I request all to primarily focus on writing skills.

To develop writing skill you can write answers (for previous years UPSC questions) and get peer review from your friends, or you can post on  INSIGHTONINDIA and even you can share it with me too {but please NARAJ na hona agar timely answer na kar paun to – as life of a father, husband, son, civil servant & that’s me, is not easy).

Try to write as much as possible and evaluate yourself regularly. Write ,write and write is the mantra of answer writing skill.

Each and every person is unique and their needs are unique too.  Please prepare your own strategy and follow it with full zeal Give everything you have to your each and every single attempt. Success will be yours. Just make UPSC your passion and live with it.

My Best wishes for all aspirants and Do count yourself, if I can do it, each and every single one of you out there can do it. Just believe in yourself and talk to yourself daily that you are going to do this no matter how hard and tough it’s going to be. Tell yourself that “I WILL DO IT” all the time.

Good luck friends!!!

Please once again accept my Best Wishes!!!